Tackling crime high on COHSOD agenda By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News
October 24, 2002

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Implementing a co-ordinated regional approach to criminal activities is high on the agenda of the Seventh Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) which opened at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel yesterday.

In his presentation at the opening session Assistant Secretary- General Edward Greene said the implementation of the priorities arising from the Report of the Task Force on Crime and Security approved by the 23rd Heads of Government meeting in July, will be up for discussion.

The report includes identifying causes of crime and specifying policies and programmes to reduce its levels as well as examining the negative consequences for society and the economy. This is being done in collaboration with the University of the West Indies and the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police.

Also to be discussed is the pursuit of a policy of joint surveillance which includes the sharing of technology and training for joint action between the police, coast guards and customs authorities; and advancing the programme to reduce the demand for illicit drugs which is increasingly linked to crime.

In relation to the implementation of the Caribbean Co-operation on Health (CCH) II in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the COHSOD meeting will consider relevant recommendations from the ministerial meeting on the Rights of the Child held on Tuesday.

On the Pan Caribbean Programme (PANCAP), the meeting was expected to develop for implementation the framework for regional procurement and distribution of anti-retroviral HIV drugs with the assistance of PAHO and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Discussions will centre on co-ordinating the continuing process of negotiations for further price reductions on such drugs. COHSOD is to also note Guyana's initiatives in the manufacture of generics in collaboration with PAHO, WHO and UNAIDS.

The establishment of the Caribbean Commission for Health and Development, Greene said is a follow up on the model of the WHO Commission for macro-economics and health.

Greene said it would lead the way in the reformulation of strategies for health reform in the Caribbean, paying particular attention to health financing and the role of health in economic development.

The COHSOD meeting is also expected to look at the free movement of persons; accreditation and standardisation; and harmonising social security arrangements in facilitating the acceleration of the Caribbean Single Market Economy.

The CARICOM Youth Forum is expected to present a strategic plan for youth. COHSOD will co-ordinate and implement the plan for youth participation and partnership in accordance with the recommendations put forward by youth forums.

Attending the COHSOD meeting are government ministers from the various CARICOM and CARIFORUM member states along with representatives of the education, culture, youth, sports, women's rights, tourism, health, labour, housing and water sectors. (Miranda La Rose)